The Front-Runner of the Catholic Reformation: The Life and Works of Johann von Staupitz, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Front-Runner of the Catholic Reformation

The Life and Works of Johann von Staupitz, 1st Edition

By Franz Posset


424 pages

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Hardback: 9780754608660
pub: 2003-06-27
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Johann von Staupitz is generally acknowledged as one of the most important influences on Martin Luther, convincing him of the sin-remitting grace of God. It was this revelation that was to spur Luther to formulate his theology of salvation by faith alone which was to lead to his break with the Catholic church. When Luther was brought to task by the church authorities for his heretical views it was Staupitz who was deputed to remonstrate with him, and it was Staupitz who sent a copy of his theses on indulgences to the Pope. Despite Luther's defection from Rome, he was to remain on good terms with the orthodox Staupitz who was consistently at the forefront of reformation within the Catholic Church. This book sheds light on the spiritual and theological beliefs of Staupitz, placing him in the midst of the late medieval reform efforts in the Augustianian order. It argues that as reformer, sermonizer, and friend of humanists Staupitz was a major player in the world of early sixteenth century theology who had a profound influence on the course of the Reformation.


'What makes Posset's book worth reading for the historian is not only his thorough analysis of Staupitz's theology and concepts of reform concepts, but also the detailed documentation of Staupitz' s close involvement in the early Reformation process.' H-Net Reviews '… fills a huge gap in Anglophone literature on the early Reformation and Catholic Reformation. It serves all scholars by systematically exploring Staupitz's writings and recorded sermons and by challenging the prevailing view of Staupitz as a 'fore-runner' of the Reformation.' Renaissance and Reformation '… a rich and stimulating English-language monograph that looks at Staupitz the preacher on his own terms.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'It should be placed on the reading lists of Reformation courses for both graduate and upper-division undergraduates, not just for its adjusted appraisal of Staupitz's importance, but also for the rich picture it paints of the German religious situation in the early sixteenth century.' American Benedictive Review '… all those interested in late medieval and Reformation thought will certainly profit from the extensive research and minute examination of Luther's mentor that have created this book.' Religious Studies Review '… I highly recommend the book. For the English-speaking world it is unrivaled. Younger scholars in particular will appreciate the work: it not only includes several useful translations of Staupitz's writings but also a nearly complete bibiography of relevant sources.' Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte '… an important contribution to Reformation history, not least because it sees beyond the oversimplification of imagining that a decaying Catholic church led to the birth of a protestant alternative to grasp the truth that roots of the Reformation are to be found in the Catholic tradition…' Revue d'histoire écclesiastique '… both useful and stimulating… Posset's book makes a useful contribution to English-language scholarship on Staupitz…' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Augustinian Order and the struggle for reform in the late medieval period; The early years: sermonizer, reformator, friend of humanists, and concern for pastoral care (1460s-1512); Prominent preacher and author (1512-17); Coping with challenges (1514-20); 'Standing up for the evangelical truth' (1520); Imposed as abbot upon the Benedictines at Salzburg (1522-24); The 'Golden Treatise': testament and remembrance; Conclusion; Staupitz's works; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Franz Posset, independent scholar, USA

About the Series

St Andrews Studies in Reformation History

With the publication of its 100th book in 2012, the St Andrews Studies in Reformation Studies series celebrated an impressive publishing achievement. Since its establishment in 1995 the series has consistently offered high-quality, innovative and thought-provoking research in the field of early modern religious history. By encouraging authors to adopt a broad and inclusive interpretation of ’Reformation’, the resultant publications have done much to help shape current interdisciplinary interpretations of early-modern religion, expanding attention far beyond narrow theological concerns. Each title within the series has added to a body of international research showing how the ripples of the Reformation spread to virtually every corner of European society, both Protestant and Catholic, and often beyond. From family life, education, literature, music, art and philosophy, to political theory, international relations, economics, colonial ventures, science and military matters, there were few aspects of life that remained untouched in some way by the spirit of religious reform. As well as widening conceptions of the Reformation, the series has for the last fifteen years provided a publishing outlet for work, much of it by new and up-and-coming scholars who might otherwise have struggled to find an international platform for their work. Alongside these monographs, a complementary selection of edited volumes, critical editions of important primary sources, bibliographical studies and new translations of influential Reformation works previously unavailable to English speaking scholars, adds further depth to the topic. By offering this rich mix of approaches and topics, the St Andrews series continues to offer scholars an unparalleled platform for the publication of international scholarship in a dynamic and often controversial area of historical study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General